Fall SAVY 2016 (Day 2) – Pathogens and Protectors: The Science of the Immune System
This Saturday, we learned more about pathogens, specifically viruses, bacteria, fungi, and protozoa. We learned about their characteristics as well as how they are often transmitted, and some of the strategies we use to prevent their transmission (eg. water purification, cooking meat).
We were able to analyze the effect of mouthwash on bacterial growth as well. Bacteria from cheek swabs before and after using mouthwash had grown into colonies, which each student counted and then pooled as a class. Interestingly, half the dishes had more colonies after using mouthwash, which led to a discussion of why we might have encountered this unexpected result. You can ask students about more variable we discussed controlled, were we to repeat the experiment.
After an introduction to innate immunity, we modeled how physical barriers, such as our skin can protect us from pathogen transmission. We coated apples in mold taken from a rotten lemon under three conditions modeling an intact innate immune system, a compromised innate immune system, and a compromised innate immune system with some help from medical technology. You can discuss how we modeled each of these with apples.
Next week, we will be delving into the adaptive immune system and some debate surrounding antibacterial soap and antibiotic usage!